Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, adjourned till June 27, 2023 for final hearing in the alleged $1.4million fraud involving one Kolawole Adedayo Erinle and his firm, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited.
Erinle and his company are standing trial on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, and obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars).
The defendant is accused of defrauding the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, KCUMB, in the United States of about $1,412,509 United States Dollars.
One of the charges reads: “Kolawole Adedayo Erinle and Edward Dada (still at large), sometime in 2019, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to falsely represent yourselves as J.E. Dunn, a local construction company in America, with intent to gain monetary advantage in the sum of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) by creating a fake domain name jedunn.org and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No 14, 2006.”
Another count reads: “Kolawole Adedayo Erinle, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited and Edward Dada (still at large) on or about the 3rd day of May 2019, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, retain the control of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) in your Access Bank account, which sum you knew to be proceeds of various internet and cybercrime.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
The defendant, who opened his defence on Monday, May 15, 2023, denied the charges against him, while being led in evidence by his counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN.
He claimed that there was actually such Edward Dada, contrary to the evidence presented by the prosecution.
He also told the court that he, indeed, met the said Dada “in person when he came to Nigeria from the United States.”
“I met him and I spoke with him. He told me that he resides in Texas, and he made me aware that he is a citizen of Nigeria and the United States.
“It was around November to December 2018 at a burial of a family friend, where he was introduced to me.
“I told him that I am into real estate and that I need investors,” he had said.
He said they exchanged contacts and said Dada, after travelling back to the US, later asked for his company’s bank account details, to which he transferred $1,410,000 to him, using his own bank account in the US.
Under cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, T.J. Banjo, during today’s proceedings, he admitted to have been convicted in the U.S. for bank fraud, where he was sentenced to a 27-month jail-term and equally served his term.
He further confirmed that his firm received the $1,410,000 through Edada Autoparts, a company belonging to the said Dada.
He also confirmed that he was the one who withdrew the money from the account of Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, his firm, and shared the same to different other accounts.
He, however, claimed that he withdrew the money because the said Dada said he was no longer interested in investing in his real estate business.
He said he had to withdraw the money and convert it to Naira, adding that he handed over the money back to the said Dada.
“We haven’t started developing the portion I allocated to Mr. Edward Dada and it was cut short because he said he was no longer interested, as he pulled out of the contract,” he said.
He further claimed that he returned “all the $1,410,000 to Mr. Edward Dada and that’s why there’s no lawsuit from him.”
When questioned further by the prosecution, he could not present any document to show that he indeed returned money to the said Dada, nor did he give details as to where and how he returned all the money.
Thereafter, Pedro called the second witness, one Musa Akande, who claimed that he never had any business with the said Dada, but that the defendant actually told him about him, “as he and the defendant were both into real estate business and had known each other since 2016.”
“The defendant just mentioned it to me, but how the relationship started and ended, I don’t know,” he said.
Under cross-examination, he said that what he told the court was what he was told by the defendant.
The case was adjourned till June 27, 2023 “for final hearing”.
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